Changes to Melodifestivalen become official
Today, Swedish broadcaster SVT made the changes official.
Smaller semi-finals, bigger final
SVT confirms that each of the four semi-finals will have seven songs, down from the usual eight. That reduces the total amount of songs from 32 to 28.
But, the final of the contest will be bigger. Instead of 10 entries, the 2015 final will have a total of 12, putting it among the largest finals ever. Melodifestivalen last had 12 songs in the final in 1997.
The Executive Producer, Christer Björkman, hopes that the bigger final will please the audience, as more favorites will be able to make it, creating more choices.
The final is increased in size by letting four songs advance from the second chance show, rather than two as in previous years. The songs that placed third and fourth in the four semi-finals will battle in four duels for four spots in the final. That means half of Andra Chansen makes it to the final.
End of unlimited voting
Changes have also been made to the voting. Previously the viewers have been able to vote an unlimited amount of times for their favorite artist, which spun accusations of voting fraud as what looked like votes from dialing robots were detected. Now, the viewers can vote a maximum of 20 times, similar to the Eurovision Song Contest, for as many songs as desired.
Also, when the jury hands out points in the final, the four lowest scores will already be displayed when the jury representative is called, just like Eurovision.
In the coming months, an expert jury will be responsible for picking the songs that will compete to represent Sweden in Vienna next year. A new rule for 2015 states that at least 50 percent of the chosen songs are to be written by female composers or songwriters.
The artists, songwriters, and composers, along with song titles, are usually revealed in November, with the contest starting in February. But, we already know one participant. Kalle Johansson won the Svensktoppen Nästa contest two weeks ago, and with it, a ticket to Melodifestivalen. His song has yet to be revealed.